Chang Moo Kwan: The Source

Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim

Chang Moo Kwan Events

San Pedro In Photos

Chang Moo Kwan Events

San Pedro In Photos


Not much is known about Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.  He was a top student of Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee in the late Forties and early Fifties. The Green Book shows him active and demonstrating and I will put all I have below.  He pops up in a many functions and is honored a Vice President of Chang Moo Kwan.  Most notable for Chang Moo Kwan he was the direct instructor to Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung. Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung was the first traditional Chang Kwan instructor in the Western United States.  He still oversees a studio in Pomona, California. His students practice one of the most traditional forms of Chang Moo Kwan in existence today.  Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman was a student of Grandmaster Chung for almost twenty years.  Grandmaster Wiedenman has said many times:  "Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung is the greatest teacher I have ever had.  He and his instructors have never exchanged what is new and popular with his traditional values and traditions of Chang Moo Kwan."   Grandmaster Chung did mention at one point that Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim had become a Christian minister.  This might explain his disappearance from Chang Moo Kwan after the Green Book was published.

Above is a general resume of Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim from the Green Book.  You see a 10 year gap between 1947 and 1957.  Think about it?  From two years after the end on WW II and the termination of Korean Japanese occupation and then a few years after the end of the Korean Conflict.  The hardships and suffering for most would be insurmountable.  Somehow Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim prevailed and opened his Dojang in 1957.  It is no wonder that we see Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim so active, he was appointed two different positions (1975 and 1976) and is was, at least at one point, in charge of techniques.  

All of the photos below have been gleaned from the “Green Book” by Historian Darrell Cook and Jon Wiedenman.  They  have spent  many hours looking at the photos trying to find the ones which contain someone who resembles Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.  His dark, thick rimmed glassed helped.  We may have made a mistake but we only put the photos on which we both agreed.  Any outside corrections are more the welcomed.  The publishers have done their best to put the photos in chronological order, accurately.

1953 Circa:  Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee with senior members of the Ministry of Communications Taekwondo department, from left to right: Master Un Yong Lee, Grandmaster Kim Sun Koo, Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee, Master Sung Kyoo Kwak, and Master Chul Joon Son.  The characters imbedded in the photo reads: “In memory of the Korean War.” Historian Darrell Cook and Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman were both amazed to the fact that there are quite a few photos of Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim in his uniform.  We thought that was cool.  Generally so many of the classic photos of notable martial arts leaders are taken in the stylish suits and ties from the respective era.  Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim was definately unique in this fact. 

1955, April 9th, South Korea emerges from the Korean Conflict a proud group of participants of a Chang Moo Kwan demonstration at Citizen’s Hall, Myung Dong.  Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee a bit off center right, directly behind him, the ever dedicated Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.

1956: When Historian Darrell Cook and Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman were examining the above photo it came with a caption “a competition.”  “We both agreed it was more of demonstration.  Again, we were both amazed at how active of a “Grandmaster of old” was Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.”  Here is a demonstration of what appears to be a drop side kick by Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim complimented by a knife hand block.   Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman commented to Historian Darrell Cook, this was one of Grandmaster Dae Wong Chung’s favorite techniques.  This demonstration is in the historic South Korea city of Kwangju at the Chonranamdo tournament.  His opponent Jung Pyo Hong.

1956: (Circa) Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim Established his Sung Dong Dojang in 1957.  It is the belief that this is where Southern California Chang Moo Kwan pioneer Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung began his training.  In this photo Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim plows through several roof tiles, still brandishing his signature black rimmed glasses.

1957 Sung Dong Dojang (Circa):  This is a very historic photo after a “regular” promotion test, is monumental in regards to Chang Moo Kwon growth.  Center stage is Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.  Historian Darrell Cook and Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman marveled over the fire in the eyes of each and every student.  In perspective, all were young children during the hardships of the Korean Conflict.  Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman said “I remember I looked at this photo over 25 years ago across a desk from Grandmaster Dae Wong Chung.  He asked me to choose which one was him.  It has been a while, but I chose the young man on the far right.  In any event, the man who built traditional Chang Moo Kwan in Southern California is in this photo somewhere.” 

1957: The 15th regular promotion test held on October 13th, 1957.  Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim sitting with his distinctive glasses two away from Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee.  Interesting to note, this is about four years after the end of the Korean conflicts end.  There are two Korean soldiers present.

1962 July 21 Promotion test under Master Young Kwi Kim at the Sung Dong Technical High School:  center of photo is Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee and to his right Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.  Interesting is the relatively casual dress.  July in Korea is very warm and very, very muggy. 

1970 This is a very historic photo.   Winners of the 1970 Individual Championships.  Left to right Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim, Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee, and Grandmaster Soo Bae Kim.  

1972 The winners from the National Middle and High School/Collegiate Chang Moo Kwan Team Championships at Dongdaemun High School.  Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim on the right and Grandmaster Soon Bae Kim on left. 

1974:  A meeting at the Chang Moo Kwan Headquarters:  From left to right we have a relatively casual dressed Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee.  Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman commented to Historian Darrell Cook even Supreme Grandmaster casual gaze is riveting.  Grandmaster (Vice President) of Chang Moo Kwan Soo Bae Kim is in the middle, and Grandmaster (Vice President) Sun Koo Kim is to the far right. 

1976 Chang Moo Kwan  President and Vice Presidents. 

Grandmaster "Vice President" Sun Koo Kim as memorialized in the "Greenbook."  Credit is given for his role in establishing the Sungdong Dojang in 1957.

A founding member of Chang Moo Kwan Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim stood by the side of Nam Suk Lee to build Traditional Chang Moo Kwan as we know it today.  He was active, caring, and involved.   Without him, we would not have Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung; one of the greatest; most dedicated Chang Moo Kwan Grandmaster.  Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman is quoted as saying: “If you took Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim out of the picture there would be no Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung.  If there was no Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung, there would be no traditional Chang Moo Kwan in the Western United States.  We are so lucky for this Grandmaster Sun Koo Kims love and nurturing of Chang Moo Kwan spirit.  Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman still teaches and holds students accountable for around 13 traditional Chang Moo Kwan forms as taught through Grandmaster Dae Woong Chung and learned from Grandmaster Sun Koo Kim.